I'd first like to start by saying I know many of you have already been to Disneyland and done the whole character/ride thing. Many of the pictures you'll see below are exactly the same as any thousands of family Dland pics you could find on the internet only with different people. This was the first time for any of us so if you've been there and done and don't care about us you can skip this post (although if you don't care about us then why are you even reading this in the first place?).
We had successfully kept this trip a secret from our kids for a couple months, or so we thought. We had done all the packing for the trip the night before and hid the bags in the back of the van under the stroller so they wouldn't notice them. We got in the car Saturday morning and told them we were going for a drive. They immediately guessed we were going to Disneyland. After we played dumb Davis revealed that he had been reading Sidnee's emails and discovered the plans. Kind of anticlimactic. So those of you looking for the video of us revealing to them where were going that's why it's not in here. Sorry.
We took the cheaper option of driving instead of flying so we could save ourselves a couple grand in tickets. That of course comes with cheap hotels along the way. Our first cheap hotel was the Ramada Limited in Redding, CA. Nice town, crappy hotel. We had booked a double king suite that would accommodate all seven of us. When we got to our room there was water leaking from the ceiling that had soaked one of the king beds. The only other room they had available was a standard double queen room. So they jammed a couple roll-away cots in there and we bedded down for the night. It was an interesting night to say the least.
We stopped at a fruit stand on our second day of driving to see what kind of fruit they had. It was more oranges than anything but they were delicious. Below is a pic of the kids in front of a short palm tree in front of the fruit stand and then Addie in front of the cart in front of the fruit stand.
Our first day in the park was Monday. This picture is actually from our fourth day in the park though. It took us four days to feel like we had our whits about us enough to think about getting some pictures.
Luke was invited to participate in a little drumming expedition that was a precursor to the parade at night. He was cute (so I was told, I wasn't actually there).
Next is the handful of character pictures. Most of these are from day four. Up to that point it felt like every time we got in line to wait for a character pic they were going on break. We had one magic morning pass (lets you into the park before the general public) and got a lot of them that day.
Next, I'd like to venture into the "ride pictures" portion of the blog. Below is our herd with their 3D glasses waiting for Star Tours.
Mad Hatter Tea Cups
Some space ship ride. Not sure what it's called. Something about orbiting.
In the nose of the light rail.
Dumbo ride. It was actually cold, windy, and raining at this time. That is why my head is down and my arms are pinned between my legs. I know what you are thinking, "where's your coat dummy?" but in my defense the day actually started off sunny and warm. In my book, if it's sunny and 63 at 10 am you don't need a coat.
Monstro the whale. It was a slow moving canal boat ride that I'm convinced they just threw in there because they had space and felt they needed something else for people to wait in line for. The ride itself didn't really make sense and even the operators did not have their hearts in it. I think they draw straws each morning to see who gets to work what and this ride is definitely the short straw ride.
Wolfley kids in the toy story display box.
Sidnee and the kids on splash mountain.
Me and the kids on splash mountain.
Sid and the kids on California Screamin. Notice Davis is ducked down.
Me and the kids on California Screamin.
Rainy Day Dave. This was the tram ride back to our car after we called it quits on a rainy day three in the park.
Sidnee being silly. Imagine that, Sidnee being silly. That's your Prairie Falcon class of 1995 Senior Class Clown for ya.
Davis rock climbing (don't worry, he's only a foot off the ground).
Family picture at Paradise Pier (California Adventure)
Monsters Inc. parade through the Hollywood Backlot section of California Adventure.
Both Addie and Jackson got a chance to participate in the Jedi Training. They both tested their skills against Darth Mol. His costume was pretty cool. He was by far the best character in the whole park.
Our last day in the park ended with the world of color show at California Adventure. We were definitely tired from four straight days of running but I must admit I was a little sad to be done. It was fun and there was a lot of cool stuff. I could do without having to tote around a grumpy three year old the whole time but that's life. Maybe when they are ready to leave on their missions we'll go back.
On Friday we drove down to Sea World in San Diego. It was a fun day but definitely on a different level than Disneyland. We saw Shamu and her friends and all sorts of funny sea life. The kids wanted to sit down in front during the Shamu show and for any of you that has been to that show know, it can get wet. The kids had red irritated skin from four days of sun and swimming in a highly chlorinated pool so when they got splashed with the salt water all heck broke loose. You would have thought we took away their birthdays by the way they where wailing and crying after getting soaked by the big mean whale.
We all had ponchos much like the ones you see Addison and Davis wearing so we where prepared for the splashing as long as we kept our ponchos on. Luke, did not keep his poncho on. There is a point in the show where Shamu sticks his tail out of the water and repeatedly splashes the audience. That time came and both Sidnee and I pulled our poncho hoods over our heads and ducked. Luke was not as prepared. After the splashing was over we came up for air and found Luke's poncho on the ground and him standing there screaming because he was soaking wet. Poor Luke. It was sad but also really funny.
The drive home through Northern California was beautiful. This is a shot of Mt. Shasta. It's a beautiful mountain that you actually drive very close to on the freeway.